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Monday 20 December 2004

 

Professor Jim Miller

Public Orator, Professor Roger Smith presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony held on Monday 20 December 2004 at 10.30am.


Chancellor

Without the skills of the bioanalytical chemist, medicine would be crippled by a shortage of drugs of proven quality, criminals would roam free of the fear of DNA testing, and athletics (even at Loughborough) could degenerate into a competition between stimulants and steroids. Many of these assays require the ability to selectively determine low levels of active substances in complex biological fluids: blood, urine and saliva. It was to this demanding field that Jim Miller devoted his career at Loughborough. His search for enhanced sensitivity has been reported in some 170 publications on the applications of luminescence, frequently coupled with biospecific assays, in which the analyst harnesses the natural affinity of carefully chosen biological macromolecules to enhance selectivity.

Jim was born and educated in Brighton before reading Natural Sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge, leading to research into the properties of large antibody molecules. In 1968 he joined the University, originally as a temporary Assistant Lecturer in Physical Chemistry, stayed as a permanent member of staff and was appointed as the first Professor of Analytical Chemistry in 1981, holding the position until his retirement earlier this year.

Jim has been tireless in the promotion of analytical chemistry both locally in the Midlands, as Vice President and President of the Analytical Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry and now as Chair of the Publishing Board. He was honoured with the Analytical Division Silver Medal in 1979, the Theophilus Redwood Lectureship in 1991, and the Analytical Division Gold Medal in 2003. He has also contributed to many other organisations and societies. He has been a frequent speaker expressing complex ideas with clarity and eloquence. The need to be certain about the significance of his assays led to an interest in statistics and, together with his wife Jane, he wrote a widely used monograph on statistics in analytical chemistry, making clear a subject which strikes fear and confusion into the minds of most students (and some staff).

He has coupled his academic position with exceptional service to the leadership of the University and has served as Dean of the Faculty, Head of Department, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Senior Pro-Vice Chancellor, and for three months in 1993 was Acting Vice-Chancellor. His approach can seem low key but his influence and impact on campus life has been immense and wide ranging: from his central role in the formation of our International Conference Centre Burleigh Court ; his Chairmanship of the Loughborough University Arts Committee and its rejuvenation of the cultural activities on campus; the setting up of the extensive Loughborough Sport Scholarships scheme, with the prestige these Scholars bring to the University; and a host of others, the most obvious to us all are the entry barriers and the bus service linking the campus to the town centre and railway station. But it is for the collegiality, wisdom, and integrity which he brought to his most senior roles that the University has reason to be most deeply grateful.

Outside the laboratory he has played competitive chess for both Leicestershire and Loughborough, and enjoys bridge, cricket and hockey. The last with such energy that the students in the Department once declined an invitation to a staff-student match, when he and former colleagues were on the staff team.

Therefore Chancellor, I have the pleasure and honour to present to you and to the whole University, Professor James Noel Miller, former colleague, distinguished analytical chemist, and exceptional servant to this University, for the degree of Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa.

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Loughborough University - Degree Speeches 2004

H.D.McCullam@lboro.ac.uk, December 2004
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